Sunday, April 25, 2010

Copyright Infringement and a Teachable Moment

I started blogging in the fall of 2006 because I wanted to introduce my students to blogging and felt I needed to be familiar with the ins and outs of the technology. I caught the blogging bug, found a niche I loved, and three and a half years later I'm still here.

For the most part, my blog is an outgrowth of my teaching and is a place where I attempt to share some of the things I am learning and working on with my students. It's also a place where I shine a spotlight on authors and highlight the ways in which their works might be used in the classroom. I try hard to follow the rules of Fair Use and copyright and thought I'd been responsible and done a fairly good job following them. Today I learned that I must do better.

An author wrote to me to let me know that I have infringed on his copyright by publishing an image of a poem I found online. After reading his message I decided to review basic copyright guidelines and make corrections where necessary. Some of you may be interested in revisiting these issues as well. For those of you who have questions about copyright and blogging, you may want to take a look at these helpful sites.

While I have removed the offending image and updated the post, I must make amends. If you've read this far I hope you'll do me one small favor. If there is an upside to this situation it is that I have learned about a new-t0-me site devoted to poetry. It is called Funny Poems for Children and is maintained by Patrick Winstanley. Please stop by and check out the wonderful poems and resources he has to offer.


  1. Just curious - did you find the image on the poet's site or elsewhere (like via google images)?

    I've often wondered about pics I get from someone else who got it from someone else who got it from someone else. (These are generally generic pics but still.) It makes me wonder if anyone should ever put a pic up online at all if they don't want to run the risk of it being grabbed. (Or at least tag it with a watermark as many professional sites do.)

  2. Thank you, Tricia. This was a great response to what happened, and helpful to all of us.

  3. Hi Colleen,

    I rarely use images these days for precisely these reasons, unless of course I take the photos myself. (I can't imagine anyone wants the pictures I take, but you never know!)

    This post was created in 2008, so I don't remember how I found it. I am always so good about citing where I find things and asking for permission that the message came as a shock.

  4. What a generous teacher you are, extending this valuable lesson to all of us.

    I know I needed this update/reminder.

  5. Thank you for going out of your way to educate your blog readers about copyright issues. They are not on enough internet user's radars. I hope all teachers and school librarians who educate students on responsible use of images and information from the internet include training about copyright laws and what students must do to avoid violating them.